Last week I was invited to scuba dive the east wall of La Jolla Canyon so I eagerly accepted the offer. My dive buddy Jonathan and I met up at La Jolla Shores where I was introduced to his diving community. The both of us share an interest in underwater photography and his background in scuba diving as well as fish ecology and biology had me anxious to get in the water and shoot.
After suiting up we headed down the shoreline to begin our dive. The plan was to swim a mile out until we reached the canyon before making our decent.
After kicking out to our destination we gave the ok and began to descend beneath the surface. We reached the canyon’s wall 60 Ft under and the visibility was about 5-10 ft. I immediately felt as if I was in a prehistoric world.
I never realized how our very own backyard of San Diego held such precious life on its seafloor. The environment I observed gave me chills as no one else but me and my dive buddies were down in the canyon uninterrupted. I meditated in the solitude with nature and in this state of mind I was reminded that we are not the only lives that matter on this planet.
As we cruised down the wall I was surprised with an animal I’ve always dreamt of seeing in the wild, a seahorse! As Jonathan pointed out the creature I shrieked with excitement.
The Pacific seahorse is not a rare sighting in San Diego but they are listed as vulnerable on the International Union of the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species because of overfishing and wildlife trade.
But the Pacific seahorse wasn’t the only vertebrate I had never seen before on our dive. As I shadowed Jonathan his camera was focused on a creature hidden in a hole so I crept in closer while his lighting illuminated the organism for me.
It wasn’t until after our dive that I found out it was a sarcastic fringehead. Since It was my first time laying eyes upon this fish in such an unearthly place it made me feel as if I was discovering a new species.
Time stood still down in this world but since my dive buddy and I had not grown gills it was time for us to head back. I always look to the ocean as an escape from the modern day hustle and bustle we pursue to survive. I sure am lucky to have this paradise and hope anyone out there searching for a moment of solitude can see it in the ocean too.
Until next time,
-Tame Me Wild